Praxair Inc. (NYSE:PX) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Over the long term, Praxair is well positioned to leverage benefits from its diversified product portfolio, a large client base and organic and inorganic growth strategies. By 2017, the company aims to achieve a high single-digit sales growth rate, including 2-3% contribution from base volume growth, 1-2% from price, 3-4% from projects and 1% from acquisitions. In third-quarter 2016, the company's earnings of $1.41 per share declined 3.4% year over year, while revenues grew 1.2%. For 2016, the company revised its earnings guidance to $5.45-$5.60 per share range versus $5.35-$5.70 expected earlier. Forex woes are predicted to adversely impact earnings by 3% while manufacturing and metal volumes will be weak. Moreover, the company's exposure to risks arising from higher production costs, stiff competition, and high debt levels might adversely impact its financials in the near term.”

PX has been the subject of a number of other research reports. TheStreet raised Praxair from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, August 29th. Jefferies Group reissued a “buy” rating and set a $140.00 target price on shares of Praxair in a report on Friday, September 30th. Morgan Stanley assumed coverage on Praxair in a research report on Tuesday, September 13th. They issued an “equal weight” rating and a $125.00 price target for the company. Barclays PLC upped their price target on Praxair from $120.00 to $125.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Friday, July 29th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. dropped their price target on Praxair from $123.00 to $122.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, July 29th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $118.57.

Analyst Recommendations for Praxair (NYSE:PX)

Shares of Praxair (NYSE:PX) opened at 118.71 on Tuesday. The company has a market cap of $33.88 billion, a P/E ratio of 22.52 and a beta of 0.95. Praxair has a 12 month low of $95.60 and a 12 month high of $125.00. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $117.73 and a 200 day moving average price of $116.43.

Praxair (NYSE:PX) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, October 27th. The company reported $1.41 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.40 by $0.01. Praxair had a return on equity of 29.92% and a net margin of 14.46%. The business earned $2.70 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.70 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.46 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 1.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts predict that Praxair will post $5.47 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 15th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, December 7th will be given a dividend of $0.75 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, December 5th. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.53%. Praxair’s dividend payout ratio is currently 56.82%.

In other news, insider Anne K. Roby sold 17,103 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, October 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $117.40, for a total transaction of $2,007,892.20. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 19,337 shares in the company, valued at $2,270,163.80. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Director Raymond W. Leboeuf sold 6,550 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $117.26, for a total value of $768,053.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 16,697 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,957,890.22. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.22% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. HighPoint Advisor Group LLC purchased a new position in Praxair during the third quarter valued at approximately $701,000. ETRADE Capital Management LLC raised its position in Praxair by 0.5% in the third quarter. ETRADE Capital Management LLC now owns 12,837 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,551,000 after buying an additional 65 shares in the last quarter. Whalerock Point Partners LLC purchased a new position in Praxair during the third quarter valued at approximately $211,000. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Praxair during the third quarter valued at approximately $7,102,000. Finally, Colony Group LLC purchased a new position in Praxair during the third quarter valued at approximately $228,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 83.63% of the company’s stock.

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About Praxair

Praxair, Inc is an industrial gas supplier in North and South America, Asia and Europe. The Company’s operations are organized into five segments, four of which have been determined on a geographic basis of segmentation: North America, Europe, South America and Asia. In addition, the Company operates its surface technologies business through its subsidiary, Praxair Surface Technologies, Inc, which represents the fifth segment.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:PX

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